Council President Paul Winterstein draws two challengers in primary

July 16, 2015

For City Council Position 6, voters will have a choice of retaining incumbent Council President Paul Winterstein or choosing between two political newcomers. A third resident filed for the race, but later withdrew.

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Officials share progress on local walking and bike paths

July 2, 2015

About a dozen people settled down the evening of June 9 into the Issaquah Trails Center to hear updates from the city and King County regarding local trails and bike paths.

First up with a PowerPoint presentation was Mary Joe de Beck, a city senior program manager, talking about the city’s highly touted Walk and Roll program. The city has hired a great consultant and spent some time trying to include the entire community in the overall plan, de Beck said.

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City Council adopts goals, including a transportation funding study

June 25, 2015

The Issaquah City Council has formally approved eight new goals for the future, most noticeably re-allocating $75,000 to cover an administration study of possible funding sources for Issaquah’s proposed $308 million transportation plan.

According to various officials, while they are counting on impact fees paid by developers along with state and federal grants to pick up a large portion of the cost of the plan, Issaquah likely will need to contribute about $96 million of its own. The council has charged Mayor Fred Butler and the rest of the city administration to formulate, by August, some plan to pay for the Issaquah’s portion.

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Residents face deep contributions to offset impact of city growth

January 27, 2015

It’s only a matter of time before Issaquah residents are asked to pay a share of the $308 million concurrency plan unanimously approved by City Council on Jan. 20.

Through greatly increased impact fees, future Issaquah developers will be paying about 30 percent of the plan. The city will need to come up with roughly $119 million.

“We must figure out how we are going to pay our share,” said Charlie Bush, development services director during a presentation to council prior to their vote last week.

A local sales tax, a $50 car tab fee and similar measures all have been mentioned as possible ways to raise the city’s portion of the plan. Bush said at least one public vote will be needed to make any funding scheme work. If there does not turn out to be sufficient public support, the plan will need to be reworked, Bush said. Read more

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City’s $308 million traffic package faces Jan. 20 council vote

January 20, 2015

At its regular meeting Jan. 20, the Issaquah City Council was slated to vote on the $308 million concurrency plan that could set the stage for local infrastructure development for the next 15 years.

One highlight of the plan that has garnered a lot of attention is a possible 500 percent increase in the impact fees paid by developers.

For a single-family unit, developers currently pay $1,700, said David Hoffman, North King County manager for the Master Builders Association. If the proposed increases were approved, that figure would jump to $8,600.

City Council President Paul Winterstein said council members have been studying the proposal for some time. State law requires cities develop concurrency plans that mitigate the effects of development on traffic and the city at the same time that development occurs. Winterstein said Issaquah really needs to update that plan about every three years, but the last major revisions happened in 2003. Read more

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Car tab fees, sales taxes could help pay for roadwork

December 16, 2014

Funding was a big part of the discussion as the Issaquah City Council took up the roughly $304 million development impact plan proposed by the administration.

While developers would cover some of the cost by way of increased impact fees, the city could be on the hook for approximately $191 million. City consultant Randy Young said there are five means by which Issaquah could raise the needed dollars:

  • a local $50 car tab fee,
  • business license fees based on the number of employees,
  • a voter-approved road levy,
  • bond sales paid for through increased local property taxes,
  • a local sales tax of one-tenth of 1 percent.

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Traffic plan may cost $300 million

December 9, 2014

Package would include 500 percent increase in impact fees

Looking to accommodate expected residential and retail growth without creating gridlock on city streets, Issaquah’s administration has come up with a $300 million transportation plan that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

But to help pay for all the needed road improvements, administration officials have proposed a 500 percent hike in the traffic impact fees developers pay.

For a single-family unit, developers currently pay $1,700, said David Hoffman, North King County manager for the Master Builders Association. If the proposed increases were adopted, that figure jumps to $8,600.

The impact fees would not cover the entire cost of the plan, which includes $250 million for roadwork and an additional $50 million for bike paths and pedestrian accommodations, city consultant Randy Young said in an interview.

Young said the city would need to fund the remainder at a cost of approximately $165 million for roadwork and roughly $26 million for bike and pedestrian pathways.

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City hikes impact fees to match inflation

February 8, 2011

The city has updated impact fees to adjust for inflation.

The affected areas include fees for government buildings, fire, parks, police and transportation. The city updates the fees each year.

Per the City Council, the city updates the fees updated annually to avoid larger changes every few years. The annual fee changes do not require council approval. The updated rates took effect Feb. 1.

Residents can find a complete list of impact fee changes at the municipal website.

The city requires impact fees as part of any construction, reconstruction or other uses of property if the project requires the review and approval of a development permit.

The state Growth Management Act authorizes cities to collect impact fees to help pay for the additional facilities — such as parks and roads — needed to serve the additional construction.

In Issaquah, the council has OK’d impact fee ordinances for city and King County traffic, schools, parks and fire impacts. The city assesses government buildings and police impacts during the environmental review process.

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Issaquah updates impact fees to match inflation

February 4, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Feb. 4, 2011

The city has updated impact fees to adjust for inflation.

The affected areas include fees for government buildings, fire, parks, police and transportation. The city updates the fees each year.

Per the City Council, the city updates the fees updated annually to avoid larger changes every few years. The annual fee changes do not require council approval. The updated rates took effect Tuesday.

Residents can find a complete list of impact fee changes at the municipal website.

The city requires impact fees as part of any construction, reconstruction or other uses of property if the project requires the review and approval of a development permit.

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Issaquah tragedies, triumphs define a tumultuous year

December 28, 2010

Traffic lines up on state Route 900 at Northwest Talus Drive in February. State Department of Transportation crews completed the long-running project in 2010. By Greg Farrar

The economy lurched from the recession, population growth all but stalled and Issaquah — after cutbacks and setbacks in 2009 — defied the odds to reach major milestones throughout 2010.

Momentum returned in 2010 after a year spent in a holding pattern. Set against the backdrop of a fragile recovery, leaders cut the ribbon on businesses and roads, laid the foundation for preservation and construction, and marked tragedies and successes. Read more

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